Hotels

amazing hotel experiences

Hotels are back with a bang.

And guests are responding very positively. According to a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, 1 in 3 travelers planned to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did in the previous year.

This attitude is compounded by a major shift in both the travel industry as well as travelers themselves. Trivago’s recent purchase of AI startup Tripl shows that hotels have a greater drive towards personalization and fostering a genuine curiosity in travelers when creating one-of-a-kind experiences for guests.

Meanwhile, CEO of Placepass, Emily Bernard says that “[E]xperiences are the future of travel,” and that “immersive in-destination activities” are on the rise.

So, where can you count on undertaking an experience you won’t soon forget? We’ve scoured the globe for five of the best (and most unique) experiences offered by hotels.

1) Experience the Great White North at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

There’s a reason for every season, goes the old saying. And, we’re pretty sure that the likes of winter and Arctic chill were invented specifically so guests could undertake the truly other-worldly experience that the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland offers.

From late-August to April of each year, nature puts on a lights show like no other. If viewing the Northern Lights is an experience on your bucket list, be prepared to not only check it off your list but to do so in style.

The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort’s glass igloos offer an incredible, unobstructed view of the Arctic sky. Be prepared for a view filled not only with stars that seem to outnumber the sheer grains of sand on Earth but the luminous, mysterious dance of the Aurora Borealis.

The Great White North at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Each igloo is masterfully designed with private curtains, climate control, private bathrooms and hot showers. If you’re looking for a communal feel, head to the common areas for a soak in the sauna.

And what about the day? Experience classic Arctic activities like snowmobiling, ice fishing, sled dog training, and the quintessential reindeer sleigh ride.

snowmobiling hotel experience

2) Live Like a Desert King at Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort

One of the few things that interrupts Rub’ al Khali, the “largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world” is the majestic vision of the Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort.

A multi-faceted experience, the “Empty Quarter” is packed-full of what the Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort calls, “The Spirit of Arabia”.

spirit of arabia hotel experience

Guests at Qasr al Sarab can expect to enjoy a full day, beginning with a tour of the desert at sunrise, a unique and nearly mystical experience. Then, guests can experience scores of activities including dune dashing, camel rides, horseback riding, archery, falconry and even cooking classes.

After the day is done, guests can head to the traditional and exclusive Hammam spa, touted to have healing desert elixirs, with authentic hammam rituals, before taking a dip in the common area free-form pool, completely shrouded by the stars.

3) Cliff Camping at Estes Park

Not for the faint of heart but not to be shied away from either: The chance to sleep at the face of a mountain may not immediately appeal to everyone but it’s an experience you should absolutely undertake…if you dare!

Colorado’s breathtaking Estes Park is where camping and outdoor enthusiasts head up a mountain and then rappel down its rockface to set up shop on a nylon cot just big enough to accommodate two sleeping bags.

While cliff campaign experiences are usually set up by serious climbers like Harry Kent of Kent Mountain Adventure Center, travelers don’t have to be major climbers to undertake this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In fact, Kent’s operation focuses on providing these experiences in safe, controlled settings, aimed specifically at newbie and inexperienced climbers. If there’s one thing that will put the spirit of the mountain in you, it’s the feeling of being utterly alone on the side of a cliff for the night.

cliff camping hotel experience

These dreamy views are something every traveler will appreciate more because they had to work for them.

4) Get Up Close and Personal with Big Game at The Ark

After Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne was marked by her prior experience at Tree Tops in Kenya, Big Game viewing experiences became more popular than ever.

Today, it’s not only royalty that can engage in a coveted spotting of the wild’s “king of the jungle”.

Located in Aberdare National Park is a sanctuary that overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which makes for a communal experience for creatures like hippos, giraffes, zebra and even elephants, as well as the curious humans who can view them from up high.

safari hotel experience

Creatively named “The Ark”, this makeshift-hotel-and-sanctuary is actually an experience in itself. There are four viewing decks with balconies and lounges for observing animals, as well as a hidden, ground-level bunker perfect for wildlife photography enthusiasts looking to capture animals through the lens.

wildlife hotel experience

Once you’ve acclimated yourself to your fellow neighbors, take a safari drive into the bush, a guided nature walk, go bird watching or visit the Moorlands, where the magnificent waterfalls of River Magura, River Karuru and River Chania await. For something more low-key, finish your trip with some trout fishing.

5) Relax and Breathe Deep…Underwater at Song Saa Private Island

With experiences like this, it’s truly difficult to pick favorites, but we saved the “best” for last.

Remote and riveting, Song Saa “Private Island” makes you think of some secret, clandestine spot of luxury.

The reality is not far off. Song Saa, which is an affectionate Khmer term for “sweethearts”, is a set of twin islands surrounded by dazzling turquoise waters off the Gulf of Thailand. It’s also the spot where Australians Rory and Melita Hunter set up their dream of a private island luxury resort that provides local conservation efforts as well as unique experiences for travelers.

private island hotel experience

While “private island” seems to imply exclusivity and luxury, Song Saa’s experience is more about the harmonious. The islands of Koh Ouen and Koh Bong are connected by a footbridge, and positioned just off the shoreline is its world-class restaurant and lounge.

nature hotel experience

The ethic at Song Saa is simple: Nature and natural beauty are one in the same. Instead of a dedicated spa center, there are various “regenerative sites” through which guests rotate for a truly bespoke experience. All around, the presence of the ocean, the rainforest and the tropical wildlife give guests the chance to rejuvenate.

Song Saa features a team of locally and internationally-trained therapists who range from Khmer practitioners to yoga masters and ayurvedic therapists. Guests can also enjoy an engaging set of activities like paddle boarding, local gardening workshops, rainforest hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and cooking classes, to name a few.

travel style hotel experience

A particularly notable and memorable Song-Saa-exclusive experience, however, is the underwater meditation. Guests begin by scuba diving at dusk. As the moon is rising, the island’s only light source makes for an eerie and spiritual mood. A relaxation and meditation expert leads the experience underwater, using special breathing equipment and waterproof personal players.

Hotels are not the only ones changing things up. Tour operators and travel companies are popping up offering packages that are tailored to travelers’ “Travel Styles”.

Are you a “Discoverer”? Or, perhaps, an “Independent Insider”? There’s a trip for that.

The experiential and the immersive itinerary is not a trend but a new reality. Hotels are getting on board and riding the wave by offering the chance for guests to make memories. And travelers are only too happy to do so.

 

 Like
hotel fidelity programs - Manet Mobile Solutions

In February 1983 Holiday Inn launched the first hotel Loyalty programs, and two months later Marriott followed the precursor launching its own hotel reward program. The foundations of one of the biggest hospitality trends were laid and, at the same time, Internet started taking its first steps (the word internet had been coined in 1982, almost a year earlier). Since these mythical times – the prehistory of loyalty programs – many things have changed and today the hotel industry players are now competing strongly for Baby Boomer and Millenial customers’ loyalty while trying to conquer and secure the future market segments.

happy traveler - Manet Mobile Solutions

Starwood and Marriott, the best rewards programs for frequent travelers

According to the best hotel loyalty programs ranking published in March 2018 by The Points Guy, a popular website dedicated to airline and hotel loyalty points, Starwood Preferred Guest is the best rewards program. The criteria used by The Points Guy are based on point utility. Starwood gives guests “Starpoints” (Regular members earn 2 Starpoints per dollar spent), a currency that can be used not only for getting a free stay but can also be transferred to a wide range of airline partners with considerable bonuses for elite members. It’s also relatively easy to earn the points through elite bonuses and spend them on the program’s co-branded credit card. SPG towers above competitors in The Points Guy ranking, but is only fifth in the J.D. Power ratings where Marriott is the winning horse instead (in The Points Guy ranking Marriott is sixth). The key evaluation factors of this ranking are generally geared towards mainstream and casual travelers and measured on a 1,000-point scale, that puts in order of importance four factors: ease of earning and redeeming rewards (35%); program benefits (27%); account management (22%); and member communication (16%). Anyway after comparing the two lists, Starwood apparently still has the best rewards program thanks to an incredibly versatile system of point redemption. Other hotel chains (like Marriot) grant more points per dollar but Starwood has a really vast array of earnings options(airlines, Uber, eating at Starwood restaurants, using Starwood credit cards, making a Green Choice etc.). For example, starting from a minimum stay, Starwood customers are awardedwith free internet, room or suite upgrades, free drinks, late checkout, free breakfastand more. Starwood also has one of the biggest networks o partnerships, especially with airline companies, and it’s possible to convert SPG points in upgraded seats, faster check-in, priority boarding, and free checked bag.

hotel fidelity programs - Manet Mobile Solutions

3 other top loyalty programs

According to the above mentioned classification comparison systems, (Points Guy and J.D. Power), on the Olympus of loyalty programs, next to Starwood and Marriott there is the World of Hyatt rewards program. Despite their small portfolio of properties they have a high percentage of Luxury Properties (about 6% of their total properties), and they can boast tremendous Elite Status benefits like suite upgrades,guaranteed late checkout and co-branded credit cards offering many opportunities to their guests. The wooden medal goes to Hilton with their incredible portfolio of hotels and rooms spread in over 100 countries all over the world. Hilton guests have a lot of perks such as complimentary wi-fi, member-only rates, and free sharing of points with the program’s new family pooling feature. The Hilton’s co-branded credit cards offer a wide variety of benefits and thanks to their programs, they have one of the biggest catchment areas in the hospitality industry. The fifth loyalty program in the comparative ranking here described,, is the Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards. Their affiliated customers have guaranteed lucrative promotions and bonuses globally thanks to a large number of hotels scattered around the world with a unique geographic spread.

young traveler - Manet Mobile Solutions

Focus on Next Generation Guests

The hotel industry, in a constant effort aiming to attract new customers, is creating new strategies focused on next generation guests. An interesting study published by Taylor Short – Market Research Associate at Software Advice – shows why Millennials are so attractive for big brands. They are not just customers of the future but they represent the next lucrative customer base because they have more money available for travel than their predecessors and in the future, entering their peak earning years, this generation will provide the majority of spending for travel and leisure. According to this research next-geneneration customers are spending more than ever on travel, with 26% saying that they spent more on vacations than in the previous year. Furthermore,there is no doubt that these individuals are more technologically inclined and connected to the internet than the previous generations, so the opportunities of reaching them are many more than thaosefor other age groups. The research also show that the “new guests” are very attentive to their expenses and they tend to spend their earned points on rewards such as free or discounted hotel stays (51% of respondents) because redeeming points in this way helps them save money on purchases they would likely make anyway on future trips. Another interesting fact is that millenials (58% of respondents) find hotel loyalty program apps valuable. Their segment accounts for the largest percentage of mobile app users and offer big opportunities to hotels as the latter can use these technologies as a preferential channel to communicate with the former and send them notifications for upgrades and services. It would be a mistake to underestimate the fact that the new generation of travelers considers travel a priority and they want to feel like they’re part of their favorite hospitality brands’ worlds. With apps, social media and new technologies, hotel companies can establish fast, continuous and direct communication with Millenials who seem to enjoy this technological contant with brands of their interest. Summing up what is written above, loyalty programs in the hospitality industry have evolved as a reflection of major societal trends focused on digital interaction and constant contact with new generation travelers. The world wide web andmobile apps are vital tools for the success of any hotel loyalty program as they provide hoteliers with the ability to stimulate and surprise their prospects and customers easilly and effectively.

 1
the future of hospitality - Manet Mobile Blog

Every time you think about or plan your next trip, do you ever wonder what the future of travel and hospitality looks like? Digitization has brought massive changes to the travel industry delivering highly personalized experiences to travelers. So if you really want to get an idea of what’s next in the hospitality industry, you better watch out for these 5 major trends for the upcoming year.

1. Blockchain technology

Blockchain - Manet Mobile SolutionsBlockchain technology is about to take hold and radically change the global economy including the hospitality industry. Originally devised for the Bitcoin digital currency, the blockchain is starting to be used in new applications every day aiming at eliminating middlemen and intermediaries from provider-to-consumer transactions, allowing people to execute contracts (bookings for example) without the need for a “trusted” third parties (online travel agencies for example). Within the hotel industry horizon, numerous brand new companies are already showing up, offering platforms on which customers and rental providers can directly contact each other for free, without paying any commission. Winding Tree, Lockchain, Trippki, Fujinto, Emphy, Abab and Pally are some examples of companies using the blockchain to disrupt industries in the belief that travelers shouldn’t have to pay high rates to OTAs to get a good room, and hotels shouldn’t have to raise their rates to account for the cut the agencies take. Their claim is to ”make travel cheaper for the end user while making it more profitable for suppliers”, moreover “allowing small companies to compete with big players”, quoting Winding Tree.

2. Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Chatbots - Manet Mobile SolutionsAt present, the most widely recognized AI application in the hospitality business is chat-bots. Due to their ability to provide answers in many languages, 24/7 and by means of familiar online services like direct messaging apps, they have become extra-useful tools for hoteliers, freeing up precious time for the staff and providing fast and tailored responses to customers. Accor Hotels designed it’s bot to be able to collect stories and experiences related to places and therefore to guide guests throughout them by means of geolocation. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas equipped its bot, named “Rose”, with an unprecedented flirty and funny personality she uses to recommend amenities and make reservations for clients in a totally new way.

3. Robots

Robots - Manet Mobile SolutionsThe Frankfurt-based, International Federation of Robotics, predicts a 20 to 25 % increase in sales of professional service robots (defense robots, cleaning robots, medical robots and logistics systems robots) per year through 2020, from around 79,000 last year. Robby Pepper, developed by Japan’s Softbank Robotics, is the first robot concierge deployed in an Italian hotel on Lake Garda; he can speak Italian, English and German, answering guests’ questions regarding topics like the spa, restaurants and opening hours. This summer’s tourist season will provide Robby with the crash course in unanticipated questions, not to mention accents, that will help him improve his knowledge, vocabulary, and his ability to answer. In 2016, 7200 public relations robots, providing mobile info and assistance like Softbank’s Pepper, were sold — a full 135 percent increase over the previous year. German hotel chain, Motel One, uses a lederhosen-clad concierge named Sepp to greet guests arriving in its newest location in Munich. Sepp can answer a wide range of guests’ questions, from personal to general. Meanwhile, Singapore offers two cutting-edge examples of this fast-growing technology. The first can be found at the M Social hotel, “employing” Aura, a front-of-the-house robot, used to deliver small room amenities like water, towels, and toiletries to its guests. Elsewhere in the city, the Jen Hotel uses a pair of colorful butler robots named Jeno and Jena for guest-oriented services like the delivery of in-room meals. LG gave us a glimpse at the next generation of hospitality robots with CLOi during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. CLOi represents the next development in hospitality robotics, with even more engaging robots that can clean up, serve food and drinks with a built-in sliding tray, handle baggage and payments during check-in and check-out, and provide directions.

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of things - Manet Mobile SolutionsThe Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of interconnected internet-abled devices and physical things. IoT means that cars, kitchen appliances, hotel rooms can all be connected and exchange data. Today’s hotel rooms are packed with devices that give customers access to now indispensable services. Hilton has even built a room to beta test technologies including voice-control and the management of room settings like temperature, and lighting. By combining interconnected devices, sensors and machine learning, with virtual assistants, hotels can leverage the existing IoT to further enhance the customer experience.
With the amount of guest data being already available, hotels can generate predictions about customer preferences, and thanks to recent advances in artificial intelligence, hotels have begun to equip their rooms with smart devices that use voice recognition. Wynn Las Vegas equipped as many as 5000 hotel rooms with Amazon’s Echo speaker, allowing its guests to control many features in the room with Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, Alexa.

5. Mobile devices

Mobile devices - Manet Mobile SolutionsMobile phones have unveiled a whole new world to travelers: mobile innovation is key to the future of the hospitality business, and guests can’t fail to enjoy a holiday without a mobile phone. This is the reason why more and more hotels are providing mobile phones in their rooms. A single small device can enclose an entire and amazing world of services: payment gateways, sales and catering systems, wi-fi connectivity, mobile check-in/check-out programs, smart door lock management etc. Smartphones have already become essential not only to booking and paying a room but also to ordering room benefits as well as discovering activities and restaurants in a new city. For instance The Buddha Bar Hotel in Paris has enhanced its mobility services making its staff contactable anywhere on-site and therefore endowing it with extensive awareness of the guests’ demands. Moreover an app enables its employees to instantly report any room availability through a code on their mobile devices. The Winery Hotel, in Sweden, has opted for a fully mobile guest approach and completely refused the idea of in-room fixed telephones. By implementing a mobile eConcierge app the Winery Hotel now provides hotel services and enterprise-grade telephony entirely through their smart devices. This allows the hotel to be active 24/7.

The above mentioned trends are just a short list of all the trends that are shaping and revolutionizing the hospitality industry whose future seems full of exciting possibilities! Stay tuned to our blog to discover how technology is changing the way people travel.

 2
Smart locks

At the dawn of history, keys and locks were made of wood and until the ‘70s the only big change in key and lock manufacturing involved the introduction of new materials and the substitution of wood with iron, then with bronze and subsequently with stronger metals like titanium.

From the Egyptians to the Tor Sørnes turning point

The Egyptians were the first to invent keys and locks. This advanced civilization developed the first security systems for houses and coffers and they also were the first to give a symbolic andsacred meaning to keys. The ankh is an ancient Egyptian symbol also known as crux ansata (the Latin word for “cross with a handle”) symbolizing “the key of life” a mystic sign connected to sex (intended as sexual act but also as m/f gender identification), tothe sun (god Ra bring ankh in his hand) and to other esoteric concepts. The gesture of inserting a key in a patch certainly conveys a highly erotic meaning therefore it is no coincidence that it has often been used in movies to increase their sexual load. Keys have always been powerful signifiers either they give access to an alcove, to a drawer full of secrets, to an apartment or to a hotel room.
Focusing on hotel rooms,, until 1975 they were equipped with conventional iron keys and locks.
The same year, Norwegian inventor Tor Sørnes created the holecard-based recodable keycard lock. With this new system each hotel guest could have his/her own unique key formed by a pattern of 32 holes on a plastic card. This invention is still used worldwide in hotel security under the brand VingCard. The 32 holes on the key generate 4.2 billion key combinations, the same number as the population of the earth at that time.
The first hotel to install the keycard lock in 1978 was the Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta (USA). Since then, this invention spread like wildfire all over the world until it became obsolete because of the introduction of new technologies.

Smartphones for smart lock management

Smart door locks: a big new trend

Today, smart door lock use seems to be one of the biggest trends in the hospitality industry as Brian Shedd, VP of sales and marketing at OpenKey, said. His words were “I believe all new hotels at this point will be installing BLE – buetooth low energy – locks for the next five or 10 years based on trends in the hospitality industry”.
Nicolas Aznar, president of Assa Abloy Hospitality Americas Group thinks the same way: “It’s about utilizing the most advanced technologies available to accomplish the aforementioned objectives, the next technology for door locks will be solutions that streamline the check-in process to benefit both hoteliers and guests, and as door lock technology continues to advance they will incorporate more user-friendly and robust technologies”. This revolution will simplify the life of both hotel guests and managers, and comes from multiple channels as it is not only through mobile apps that the hotel industry is trying to outdo conventional keys.
Companies like the italian “Sofia” are trasforming smartphones in keys that can be used by their respective owners only. This unlocking solution offers many new possibilities as access can be restricted to specific time slots and days, within a given timeframe, can be extended to multiple individuals and it can also be used to study which rooms are the mostly accessed ones. This high tech key innovation allows managing access of multiple users or user groups and multiple keys with a single clickat a low price and with ease.
“Vikey”, another italian hi-tech company focused on the B&B market, offers new interesting opportunities to hosts and allow homeowners or house managers to handle guest check-ins remotely at any time of the day.
Apple is instead working on implementing hotel check-in and room door management functionalities in its latest smartwatch with the intent to make it complementary to the iphone and launch it commercially. This is whatKevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of Technology, explained in a recent interview: “When I arrive at my hotel room, I get a notification and also when I get near hotels like SPG’s W Hotel, you can see it’s got all the information I need to check-in, my confirmation number, my room number. These are really rich notifications; they have images, they have great typography and rich layout and it not only looks great and reflects the brand and the company, but it also makes it easier for you to understand very quickly and you can act on these. In this case I can use this to unlock my door right from the notification from my watch. So I press ‘unlock your door’, I can bypass the front desk entirely, go to my room and then my watch is my room key. I just wave it in front of the door and I go into my room.
Big hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood are also working on the adoption of keyless access systems so the whole market seems to be going towards the smart-lock directions even if problems like device loss, battery capacity limits and lock hacking have to be dealt with to make new lock technologies easilly usable and reasonably safe.

the future of hotel smart locks

Innovation has its downsides: what will the future of locks look like?

We certainly see more keyless innovation in the future of the hospitality industry. However, the recent cases of an Austrian luxury hotel that was hacked by an angry guest, who paralized the hotel’s entire electronic system and demanded a substantial bitcoin ransom, or of the hacker group named “DarkHotel” that attempted malware attacks towards luxury hotel guests, stimulate some important reflections on the actual safety of smart locks. Nevertheless, it seems that the power of innovation is taking the smart lock industry towards a very clear goal consisting in freeing hotel guests from all key-related hassle and making their check-in and door opening experiences as fast, carefree and natural as possible. After all, today more than ever and thanks to technology, Pablo Picasso’s saying “Everything we can imagine in real” is true and the future of locks seems full of surprises!

 4
Futuristic Hotels

We are not yet travelling on spaceships, we are not yet living on Mars, but our “travelling space” has changed dramatically in the last years and as tourists sometimes we may feel like aliens in strange places called “hi-tech hotels”. A rapid digital revolution and incredible technological innovations have transformed the hospitality landscape. However this wasn’t an unpredictable change as the digital revolution has steadily been pervading all aspects of everyday life – public administration, culture, education, industry etc. – affecting travelling habits as well. Technology and digitalization are changing the way travelers of all kinds travel both in the luxury and in the budget travel segments.

Facts and trends:

According to Europe’s Digital Progress Report 2017, drawn up by the European Commission, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands have the most advanced digital economies in the European Union, followed by Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK – before Brexit – and Ireland. On the other side Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy have the lowest scores on the index.

The world-wide-web, social media, apps and digital maps have given travelers of the world the opportunity to explore any place without moving away from their sofa. This is a huge change compared to the way people used to travel just 20 years ago and things keep changing and evolving fast! So what’s next now? Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence applications are bringing new experiences in the hospitality sector. Expedia is introducing the possibility for its users to experience a room by means of virtual reality applications before booking it.

Imagine if you could search for flights, walk to the plane to select your seat, book and pay for your trip using Virtual Reality. We live in a 3D world, why shouldn’t we shop for travel that way?” That’s the question Navitaire, the travel technology company asks. The company, which is a subsidiary of Amadeus, created a Virtual Reality simulation in which people can search for global destinations and view airplane’s seats and places where they could travel. For now it’s still in a development phase with a patent pending, but Navitaire’s project could change the whole idea of travel.

Thaks to Virtual Reality, tourists can use their iOS or Android phones to visit places normally closed to the public, destinations that are off-limits, dangerous places or protected heritage sites. Talking about Artificial Intelligence, online players are exploring the possibility of introducing chatbots to aid in trip planning, providing real time and user-tailored information. Furthermore Artificial Intelligence is not only experienced through software anymore but it’s also delivered through smart devices and real robots providing lots of services and assistance to their users.

So let’s see now what some of the most high-tech hotels of the world look like:

Yotel in New York, aims at solving the problem of luggage storage once and for all. No more mess in the room thanks to a hi-tech storage space for luggage: a robot takes care of your suitcase placing it into a glass-walled storage area assigned to guests by typing a pin number. This is just one of the many computerized services offered by the Hotel, services like motorised beds, kiosk check-ins and motion-activated air conditioning.

Aloft Cupertino, in Silicon Valley, United States, in 2014 inaugurated its first hi-tech humanoid Sanbot Hotel Robot Butlercalled Botlr. Thanks to multiple sensors, 3D cameras and Wi-Fi, this robot is able to move up and down across the hotel floors performing room deliveries. Since then several other hotels started introducing robots used to handle repetitive tasks. Las Vegas luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental, has a humanoid robot that’s called Pepper. It is very similar to a human: thanks to facial recognition technology it can guess guests’ gender, age and even mood! With its lifelike gestures it can also entertain guests by providing directions, telling jokes and posing for selfies. The Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel, which opened recently, is a 288-room hotel with eight robots that can deliver luggage and towels, offering also directions to guests.

In the japanese hotel Henn na, Tokyo, guests are welcomed by robots. The real oddity is that they are dinosaur-shaped ones. The Henn na has been the first hotel entirely staffed by robots speaking all the languages needed to satisfy even the most demanding foreigner. These robots greet you at the reception and they carry your luggage to your room where thanks to face recognition capabilities the room keys are not necessary anymore. In Japan again, the Weird Hotel, in the southwestern city of Sasebo, went one step further intruducing humanoid staff members waiting at the front desk to check you in. These robots speak English, Chinese Korean and Japanese.

The hotels mentioned above are mostly high end hotels. However technology goes beyond luxury and is also present in budget hotels! The City Hub, in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is a valid and new alternative to old-school hostels and an excellent solution for low-cost travel. This innovative hotel has 50 minimalist private cabins, called Hubs, with a double bed, wifi, app-controlled lighting and a personal audio streaming system. You can’t loose your room’s key because you’re given a wristband that electronically unlocks your door. Thanks to the hotel’s custom app, it is also possible to change the lighting color of the rooms according to mood.

Robot Butler

Another technology worth mentioning is Virtual Reality that never ceases to amaze its users. If you order “The Origin”, a whisky cocktail, at the Lobby Bar of the One Aldwych Hotel in London, you will also get an immersive virtual reality experience. “When someone orders it, we give the guest virtual reality goggles and a headset and explain we are taking you to the origin of the drink. You fly to the distillery where the whisky is aged, and then to the fields of barley and to the water source”, said the drink’s creator, bar manager Pedro Paulo. Last but not least, we want to mention a very peculiar technology application in the hospitality business: thanks to Nissan, the ProPILOT Park Ryokan, located in Hakone, Japan, is equipped with self-parking slippers, tables and floor cushions! Yes you read it right! This hotel looks like any other traditional Japanese inn, but these accessories are equipped with a special version of Nissan’s ProPILOT Park autonomous parking technology meaning that when not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots, with the push of a button.

Despite all the hi tech “whistles and bells” and exciting futuristic services described so far in this article, more conventional technologies like social media and phone apps are still strong players on the battlefield of innovation and are always pushing forward.

 3
Bitnami